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Full text of "Shipping casualties. (Loss of the steamship "Falaba"). Report of a formal investigation into the circumstances attending the foundering on 28th March of the British steamship "Falaba", of Liverpool, in or near latitude 51 30' N., longitude 6 36' W., whereby loss of life ensued .."

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SHIPPING CASUALTIES. 



s 

07.9 



(LOSS OF THE STEAMSHIP "PALABA." 



^Hi REPORT of a Formal Investigation into the circumstances 
2 ^mi attending the foundering on 28th March of the British 

9 ^sl Steamship " Falaba," of Liverpool, in or near Latitude 

9 ^ 51° 30' N., Longitude 6° 36' W., whereby loss of life 

ensued. 



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h'cscntcb to both Rouses of farliitincnt bij (Eomnutnb of Die iHnjcstg. 



L^7j^r/ii^;^u-^' /,i^<^^ 




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UNIvStY of CALIFORNIA 

AT LOS ANGKLES 



C 1 'B^ F< r\ R Y 



Report on the Loss of the 
" FALABA " (s.s.) 



THE MERCHANT SHIPPING ACTS, 1894 TO 1906, 



IN THE MATTER OF the Formal Investigation held at the Caxton Hall, 
Westminster, on the 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th May, 1915, before the Right Honour- 
able Lord Mersey, Wreck Commissioner, assisted by Admiral Sir F. S. Inglefield, 
K.C.B. ; Lieutenant-Commander Hearn; Captain D. Davies; and Captain J. 
Spedding, acting as Assessors, into the circumstances attending the loss of the 
steamship " Falaba," of Liverpool, and the loss of 104 lives in or near latitude 
51° 30' N., longitude 6° 36' W. on the 28th March, 1915. 



REPORT OF THE COURT. 

The Court, having carefully enquired into the circumstances of the above- 
mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons appearing in the annex hereto, 
that the loss of the said ship and lives was due to damage caused to the said ship 
by a torpedo fired by a submarine of German nationality, whereby the ship sank. 
In the opinion of the Court the act was done not merely with the intention of 
destroying the ship but also with the intention of sacrificing life. 

Dated this 8th day of July, 1915. 

MERSEY, 

Wreck Commissioner. 

We concur in the above Report, 

F. S. INGLEFIELD. 

H. J. HEARN. 

A ssessors. 
DAVID DAVIES. 

JOHN SPEDDING. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Introduction... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ••• ••• 3 



1. Description of the Ship ... ... ... ... ... ... ••• -^ 

Dimensions and Equipment ... ... ... ... ... ••. •'' 

Surveys ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ••• ••• 3 

Position of the Boats ... ... ... ... ... ••. ••• '^ 

Boat Lists and Boat Drills ... ... ... ... ... . • • • • • ^ 



The Captain and Officers ... 



The Ship Unarmed... 

2. The Torpedoing of the " Falaba " ... 

The Course and Speed of the Ship 

The Submarine 

Orders to Passengers and Crew 

3. Condition of the Boats 

4. The Casuai-ties ... ... 

5. The "Eileen Emma" and the Trawlers 

6. Finding of the Court... 



4 



The Crew ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .•• ..• '* 

TJie Passengers ... ... ... ... ... ... ••• ••• ^ 

The Cargo ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .•• ••• "* 



4 



(5928—14.) Wt. 24393— 233. 14,000. 9/15. D t S. & 4. 



A 2 



o 



ANNEX TO THE REPORT. 



INTRODUCTION. 

On the 3rd Mav, 1915, the Lord Chancellor appointed a Wreck Commis- 
sioner under the Merchant Shipping Acts, and, on the 18th May, the Home 
Secretary appointed four assessors. On the 4th of May the Buard of Trade 
required that a Formal Investigation of the circumstances attending the loss of 
the " Falaba " should be held, and the Court accordingly couunenced to sit on the 
20th May, 1915. There were four public sittings, at which 46 witnesses were 
examined and a number of documents were produced. The twenty-five questions 
formulated by the Board of Trade, which are set out in detail hereinafter, appear to 
cover all the circumstances to be enquired into. 

BUILDING, OWNERSHIP, AND MANAGEMENT OF THE 

" FALABA." 

The "' Falaba " was a screw steamer, built in the year 1906 by Messrs. Stephens 
and Sons, of Glasgow, for the Elder Line, Limited. She was intended for the 
West African trade. 

Her managers were Elder Dempster and Company, Limited, of which Company 
Mr. John Craig was (and is) the Liverpool Managing Director. His name stands 
on the ship's register as the Managing Owner. 

Captain William Peter Thompson is, and for 17 years has been, Marine 
Superintendent to Elder Dempster and Company. He had general authority to 
issue instructions regarding the equipment of the vessel. 

Dimensions and equipment. 

The " Falaba " was of 4,806 tons gross and 3,011 tons net register. Her length 
was 380 feet and her nominal horse power 654. 

She was a liner fitted for passengers and cargo. 

She carried four life-boats, numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4, which had been built for 
the vessel by Messrs. Stephens and Sons in 1906. She also carried three other life- 
boats more strongly built and intended to serve as surf-boats on the African coast. 
These were numbered 5, 6 and 8. Number 5 had been built in 1911 and numbers 
6 and 8 as recently as 1913. The seven life-boats had accommodation for 282 
persons. In addition to these life-boats there was the Captain's gig (No. 7), which 
^^as designed to carry 25 persons. Thus the boat accommodation on board was 
sufficient for 307 persons. On the voyage in question the " Falaba " carried 242 
persons in all. 

In addition to the boats the vessel was furnished with 12 life-buoys and 301 life- 
jackets, 19 of which were for children. 

Surveys, &c. 

On the 21st December, 1914, Mr. Thomas Miller, Board of Trade Surveyor of 
Liverpool, surveyed the "" Falaba " for the purpose of enabling her to obtain a 
renewal of her passenger certificate. He gave evidence at the Enquiry and satisfied 
me that at the time of his inspection the life-boats, the life-buoys and the belts were 
in sound condition and fit for the intended service. Having completed his survey 
he made the declaration required by the Board of Trade, and on the faith of it the 
Board issued a twelve months' certificate dated the 22nd December, 1914, by which 
the " Falaba " was authorised to carry 118 first-class and 72 second-class passengers 
and a crew of 92, making a total of 282 persons. 

In addition to this official survey the life-belts were inspected at Liverpool upon 
the sailing of the vessel, and at the same time the boats were also examined by the 
ship's carpenter and found to be in good condition. 

I am satisfied that when the " Falaba " started on tlie voyage in question in 
this enquiry the boats and the life-saving appliances w^ere alf in good order and 
condition, and complied with the requirements of the law. 



REPORT. -i 

The Position of the Boats on leaving Liverpool. 

When the " Falaba " left the Mersey on the 27th March, 1915, the life-boats 
were disposed as follows : Nos. 1, 3 and 5 (the last-mentioned being a surf life-boat) 
were on the starboard side of the boat deck; Nos. 2, 4 and 6 (the last-mentioned 
being a surf-boat) were on the port side. No. 8 (a surf life-boat) was on the starboard 
side, and the Captain's gig (No. 7) on the port side of the poop or after boat deck. 

Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 (the large life-boats), and No. 7, the captain's gig, were swung 
out before the pilot left the " Falaba " on the evening of the 27th March when she 
sailed. The surf life-boats 5, 6 and 8 were not swung out. 

The launching apparatus consisted of Welin Patent Davits. 

Boat Lists and Boat Drill. 

It is the practice on the steamers of the Elder Dempster Line to prepare boat 
lists for each voyage assigning to each member of the crew a particular boat to 
which he must go in case of need. This list cannot be prepared until the vessel 
has left the port of departure, for not until then is it known which of the crew 
will join the ship. Not infrequently some of them fail to appear. On this occasion 
the vessel, having left the dock and entered the river, began her voyage at 6 p.m. on 
Saturday, the 27th March, and apparently the purser commenced the preparation 
of the boat list next morning at 10.30 a.m. It had not been completed at the time 
the " Falaba " was torpedoed as hereinafter described. But about one-half of the 
crew consisted of men who had served on the previous voyage. These men would 
know their boat stations for they would retain the old stations allocated to them. 

Boat drill on the Elder Dempster Line is held once a week, usually on the first 
Saturday or Sunday after the commencement of the voyage. The masters of the 
steamers are ordered by letter to see that the drill is repeated weekly, and to record 
it in the log. Competitions are also held between sailors, firemen, and stewards in 
swinging out, lowering, manning, and rowing the boats, and a money prize is 
awarded to the men of the successful boat. Particulars of these competitions are 
also entered in the log. No boat drill had been held on this voyage up to time when 
the " Falaba " was torpedoed. 

The Captain and Oncers. 

The ''' Falaba " was under the conmiand of Captain Davies. He had been for 
more than twenty years in the employment of Elder Dempster and Co. He lost his 
life when the ship went down. 

Of the four officers three were making a voyage in the " Falaba " for the first 
time. The fourth had made a previous voyage in her. 

Both the captain and the officers were competent and efficient men 

The Crete. 

The crew numbered 95. Of these 43 were old hands on the vessel, and the 
remaining 52 were new. The white members of the crew comprised four quarter- 
masters, three A.B.'s, a boatswain, a carpenter, an ordinary seaman, and two deck 
boys. There were about 18 black sailors. The remainder of the crew consisted of 
engineers, firem.en, and stewards. About one-half of the crew lost their lives when 
the " Falaba " vv^ent doAvn. The crew was, in my opinion, efficient. 

The Passengers. 

There were 147 passengers on board, namely, 85 males and 7 females in the 
first-class and 55. males in the second-class. Of these passengers, 144 were of 
British nationality, one was Danish, one Greek and one American. There were 
no children on board. 

The Cargo. 

The cargo was loaded in the Liverpool Docks. It was a general cargo of the 
ordinary kind. It included 13 tons of cartridges and gunpowder for Government 
use on the West Coast. This was not more than is usually carried in peace time. 

The " Falaba " unarmed. 

The " Falaba " was not armed. She carried no means either of defence or of 
offence. 

5928 A 3 



5 REPORT ON THE LOSS OF THE S.S. " FALABA : 

The Torpedoing of the " Falaba." 

In the following narrative ship's time is given throughout. 

The '• Falaba " started from the Mersey on her voyage to Sierra Leone and 
other West African ports at 6 p.m. on Saturday the 27th of March last. 

On the morning of Sunday the 28th March, Mr. Baxter, the chief othcer, and 
Mr. Pengilly, the third officer, were on watch on the bridge. 

The captain was in the chart room. 

At 11.40 a.m., Mr. Pengilly sighted a submarine three miles off and about two 
points abaft the starboard beam. She was flying what Mr. Pengilly took to be 
a British ensign. The only other craft in sight was a steam drifter, the Eileen 
Emma," which was at some distance. 

At this time the course of the " Falaba " was S. 36° W. by compass, her speed 
was 12 to 13 knots, and her position 51° 32' N. lat. and 6° 36' W. long. She was 
about 60 miles west of St. Ann's Head. There was a choppy sea which was 
becoming worse. 

Mr. Pengilly at once reported the submarine to Mr. Baxter, and he summoned 

the captain to the bridge. 

The captain immediately altered the course of the " Falaba " so as to get the 
submarine directly astern, and at the same time he rang up the engine room to 
increase the speed. The best was done in the engine-room to respond to this call, 
but it was found impossible to effect any material improvement in the short time 
available. 

The captain then sent Baxter to instruct the Marconi operator to signal all 
stations as follows : — " Submarine overhauling us. Flying British flag. 51° 32', 
6° 36'." This message was sent out at 11.50 a.m. Baxter then obtained a telescope 
and observed that the submarine was flying a German ensign. It is, in my opinion, 
uncertain whether the ensign had been changed or whether the ensign already 
observed was not, in fact, a German flag. The point, however, is not material, 
because from the first the captain believed the submarine to be an enemy craft. 

The submarine was at this time making about 18 knots and was rapidly over- 
hauling the " Falaba." Shortly before noon she fired a detonating signal to call atten- 
tion, and by flags signalled the "Falaba" to "stop and abandon ship." The "Falaba " 
did not stop, but still manoeuvred to keep the submarine astern. The submarine 
then signalled " Stop, or I fire." The Captain and the Chief Officer then conferred, 
and decided that it was impossible to escape. They accordingly rang to the engine 
room to stop the engines. The signal " Stop, or I fire " was given a minute or two 
before noon. The submarine then signalled " Abandon ship immediately," and 
hailed through a megaphone to the '" Falaba " to take to the boats as they were 
going " to sink the ship in five minutes."' The Captain answered that he was taking 
to the boats. The Marconi operator heard the hail, and sent a second message 
'Position 51° 32' N. 6° 36' W. torpedo going boats." The warning that the submarine 
was going to sink the ship in five minutes was given as nearly as possible at noon. 

The " Falaba " stopped at 12.4 or 12.5, and at 12.10 the submarine fired a torpedo 
into her. At this moment the submarine w^as within about 100 yards of the 
" Falaba." The torpedo struck the ' Falaba " on the starboard side by No. 3 hatch 
aft of No. 1 life-boat and just alongside the Marconi house. 

The blow v/as fatal. The "Falaba" at once took a list to starboard, and in 
eight minutes (namely at 12.18) she sank. This was within 20 minutes of the notice 
from the submarine of her intention to sink the ship. 

An affidavit by Mr. Baxter the Chief Officer which has been put in has satisfied 
me that no rocket or other signals were fired or shown from the '' Falaba " on the 
28th March. 

I do not desire, nor am I in this case required, to find whether the submarine 
was within her rights as an enemy craft in sinking the " Falaba." But I do assume 
that in any event she was bound to afford the men and women on board a reasonable 
opportunity of getting to the boats and of saving their lives. This, those in charge 
of the sub^■arine did not do. And so grossly insufficient was the opportunity in 
fact afforded, that I am driven to the conclusion that the Captain of the submarine 
desired and designed not merely to sink the ship but, in doing so, also to sacrifice 
the lives of the passengers and crew. 

There was evidence before me of laughing and jeering on board the submarine 
while the men and women from the " Falaba" were struggling for their lives in 
the water; but I prefer to keep silence on this matter in the hope that the witness 
was mistaken. 



REPORT. 



Orders to Pussenyers and Crew. 

Betv>feen the first signal of the submarine to stop and the actual stopping of the 
" Falaba " the chief officer directed the first and second stewards to assemble the 
passengers on deck and to tell them to put on their life-belts, The captain also 
sent the fourth officer below to see that these orders were carried out. 

After the engines were stopped the chief engineer and the third engineer 
ordered all men in the engine-room and stoke-hole on deck, and the order was obeyed. 

Orders to Man the Boats. 

By the time the " Falaba " was stopped a large number of the passengers were 
already on the boat deck. The captain was on the bridge. He sent the third officer 
and the quartermaster to see to the lowering and the filling of the boats, and the 
order to man the boats was passed round the ship. 

The condition of the Life-boats when the Order to lower was given. 

During the course of the Enquiry serious complaints were made by some of the 
witnesses both as to the condition of the boats and as to the launching of them. 
These complaints were put forward quite honestly although in some instances they 
came from passengers who are now preferring claims against the owners for com- 
pensation. I will take the charge against the boats first : it is the more important. 
It was said of them that they were " rotten." Now the four large life-boats, Nos. 
1, 2, 3 and 4, were all built in 1906 by the builders of the ship herself, and they had 
all seen exactly the same service. Two of them, Nos. 3 and 4, were filled and were 
got away from the " Falaba " safely. They were in the water some hours, and were 
instrumental in saving about 80 persons. One of them, No. 1, was seriously damaged 
while being launched, and after reaching the water opened out and went adrift. 
The other, No. 2, was also seriously damaged while being launched, but she remained 
afloat, and, in fact, picked up a number of persons from the water and put them on 
board a trawler. Mr. Ralston, the naval architect of the builders, was called before 
me. He satisfied me that the materials used in building the four boats in 1906 were 
good, and the workmanship proper. He also told me that such boats are estimated 
to last 14 or 15 years. 

It appears that the two boats which got away safely (Nos. 3 and 4) were washed 
up on the rocks of the coast of Cornwall in April, 1915, and were there seen and 
examined by Mr. Cotterell, the Assistant Marine Superintendent of Elder Dempster 
& Co., on the 20th of that month. He found at the same time and in the same 
locality the Captain's gig (No. 7) and one of the surf life-boats (No. 8). The gig had 
been washed up on the beach, but the surf boat (No. 8) had been picked up at sea 
by a trawler and brought in to Padstow to be repaired. Mr. Cotterell found the four 
boats, 3, 4, 7, 8, quite sound as to their timbers, but, of course, damaged. These 
four boats were again seen and examined in the month of May : on this occasion by 
Mr. Camps, a member of the Institute of Naval Architects, who had been sent for 
the purpose to Cornwall by the owners. When Mr. Camps arrived he found that 
another of the surf boats, namely. No. 6, had been washed up on the rocks, so that 
he was able to examine five of the boats — Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8. He gave me a 
description of the damage sustained by each of these boats. It was all damage 
attributable to rough usage of one kind or another. The timbers were in all cases 
quite sound. As to Nos. 3, 4, and 6, the structural damage was probably due to 
contact with the rocks. No. 7 (the gig) was not badly damaged, and was quite 
repairable. No. 8 had a hole smashed into her side two feet square. This hole 
Mr. Camps ascribes to the boat having been rammed against the side of the " Falaba " 
by the force of the explosion of the torpedo, and I am of opinion that he is right. 

I recall that all the life-boats (seven) were surveyed at Liverpool by the Board 
of Trade surveyor as recently as December, 1914, and also that they were examined 
at the commencement of the voyage in question by Captain Thompson, the Marine 
Superintendent of the owners, and found on both occasions to be in good condition 
and fit for the intended service. 

It also appears that a sister ship to the "Falaba " — namely, the " Elmira," was 
built by Messrs. Stephens & Sons, of Glasgow, at the same time as the " Falaba," and 
was provided Avith life-boats similar to those furnished to the " Falaba." Those 
boats have been examined by Mr. Camps within the last few days, and have been 
found quite sound. This evidence of skilled and apparently careful men satisfies 



7 REPORT ON THE LOSS OF THE S.S. ' FALABA : 

nie that the witnesses who describe the boats as having been " rotten " are mistaken, 
and that, in truth, the boats were sound and in good order up to the time of the 
attack by the submarine. 

What, however, the witnesses probably mean when they say the boats were 
rotten is that when afloat some of them were found to be unseav\-orthy. xAnd this. 
no doubt, is true. But this condition of things was, in my opinion, wholly due to 
the damage sustained by the boats after the operation of launching began, and not 
to any previous defect. Upon the subject of the launching, it is, therefore, necessary 
to say a fev>- words. It is to be remembered that the submarine had given the 
■' Falaba " only about five minutes in which to man, to fill, and to launch these boats : 
in which, in short, to save the lives of 242 persons. This was an operation quite 
incapable of efficient performance in anything like that short space of time. There 
was unavoidable hurry and disorder ; the falls of one of the boats slipped ; the falls 
of another jammed; some boats were dashed against the side of the ship and 
damaged; one (No. 8) was seriously injured by the explosion of the torpedo while 
still hanging from the davits. It is in these circumstances that some of the 
witnesses apparently desire me to find that the damage done to the boats was due 
to the neglect of the officers and crew in connection with the launching. I cannot do 
this. I have no doubt that had there been more time lor the work it might have 
been better carried out, but, in my opinion, all on board, Captain, officers, crew and 
passengers, did their very best. People were fighting for their lives and for the 
lives of others about them, and in the struggle the Captain, half the crew, and a 
large number of the passengers were drowned. It is impossible for me to fix any 
man on board the ship with a failure of duty or with incompetence. The responsi- 
bility for the consequences of this catastrophe must rest exclusively with the officers 
and crew of the German submarine. 



The Deaths. 

Out of the 242 persons on board, 138 were saved and 104 were lost. Those lost 
were made up of 57 of the passengers and of 47 of the crew. 

The Drifter " Eileen Emma " and the trawlers. 

Most of the people saved were picked up from the water or taken from the 
boats by the master and crew of the " Eileen Emma," a drifter. 

Others were taken on board the trawlers " Orient II.," "" Wenlock," " George 
Baker " and " Emulate," which arrived on the scene after the " Falaba " had sunk. 

The men on board all those five fishing boats behaved with great courage and 
kindness and deserve the highest commendation. 



REPORT. 



FINDING OF THE COURT. 



It is now convenient to answer the twenty-five questions submitted by the Board 
of Trade. 

1. When the s.s. " Falaba " left Liverpool on the 27th March last : (a) What 
was the total number of persons employed in any capacity on board her and what 
were their respective ratings? (b) What was the total number of her passengers, 
distinguishing sexes and classes and discriminating between adults and children? 

A nswer : 

(a) The total number of persons employed in any capacity on board the 
" Falaba " was 95. 





Their ratings were : — 










Master and five deck officers ... 




6 


6 engineers 

12 deck hands 




6 
12 


2 pursers 

14 firemen and 7 trimmers 




2 

21 


34 stewards and 1 stewardess 




35 


1 Marconi operator and 2 clerks 




3 


Cooks, &c. 




10 


Total 




95 


(b) The total number of passengers was 147. Of these 


— 






Male. 


Female. 


Tot. 


il. 




1st Class 

2ncl Class 


85 
55 


7 


92 
55 






147 





Of the above, none were children. 

2. Before leaving Liverpool on the 27th March last, did the " Falaba " comply 
with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1906, and the Rules 
and Regulations made thereunder with regard to the safety and otherwise of 
passenger steamers? 

A nswer : 

Yes. 

3. Was the s.s. " Falaba " sufficiently officered and manned? 

Answer: 

Yes. 



4. (a) What was the number of boats of any kind on board the s.s. " Falaba ? 
(b) Were the arrangements for manning and launching the boats on board the 
" Falaba " in case of emergency proper and sufficient ? (c) What was the carrying 
capacity of the respective boats ? (d) Had a boat drill been held on board before 
the vessel left Liverpool, and, if so, when ? 



9 REPORT ON THE LOSS OF THE S.S. FALABA : 

A nswer : 

(a) 4 life-boats. 

3 surf life-boats. 
1 Captain's gig. 

(b) Yes. 

(c) The carrying capacity of the 4 life-boats and the 3 surf life-boats was 

for 282 persons. Captain's gig was for 25 persons, or a total of 307 
persons. 

(d) No, but see p. 4 of Report. 

5. What number of life-jackets for adults and children and life-buoys did 
the vessel carry ? Where were they kept, and were they fit and ready for use when 
the vessel left Liverpool ? 

Answer : 

The number of life-jackets was 301, of which 19 were for children. The 

number of life-buoys was 12. 
Yes. 

6. Were any, and if so how many, and which of the boats carried swung-out 
board on leaving Liverpool ? 

A nswer : 

The 4 large life-boats (Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4) and the captain's gig (No.7) were 
swung out before the pilot left the " Falaba " on the evening of 27th 
March. 

7. At what time on March 28th last was the German submarine first sighted 
by those on board the " Falaba " and what were the approximate positions of the two 
vessels at that time ? Were any other vessels in sight at this time, and if so what 
were they, and what were their relative positions as regards the s.s. " Falaba " and 
the German submarine? 

A nswer : 

The submarine was first sighted at 11.40 a.m. 

The position of the " Falaba " was approximately 51° 32' N. latitude and 

6° 36' W. longitude. 
The position of the submarine was three miles off the " Falaba " and about 

two points abaft the starboard beam. 
The only other vessel in sight was a steam drifter, the " Eileen Emma," 

which was at some distance from the " Falaba " and astern of the 

submarine. 

8. What flag or flags were being displayed by the " Falaba " at the time the 
German submarine was first sighted and thereafter? 

A nswer : 

None. 

9. What flag or flags (if any) were displayed or shown by the German sub- 
marine (a) At the time she was first sighted, (b) At any time thereafter ? Did the 
German submarine carry any distinguishing number or marks by which her identity 
could be established ? 

A nswer : 

(a) A white ensign, but see page o of Report. 

(b) The German white ensign. 

No distinguishing number or marks were observed. 

10. What signals were made by the German submarine? At what times were 
t hey made ? Was any answer made by the s.s. " Falaba " to such signals ? 

A nswer : 

See p. 5 of Report. 

11. At what time were the engines of the " Falaba " stopped ? 

A nswer : 

One minute or two before noon. 




D 000 023 993 9 

REPORT. 10 

12. How near to the " Falaba " did the submarine approach ? Were any 
verbal directions or messages given by anyone on board her to the " Falaba " 1 If so 
what were they ? What answer (if any) was made to them by anyone on board the 
" Falaba." 

A nswer : 

One hundred yards. 

Yes. The submarine hailed through a megaphone to the " Falaba " to 

take to the boats as they were going to sink the ship in five minutes. 
The Captain of the " Falaba " answered that he was taking to the boats. 

13. What orders, if any, were given by the master of the '' Falaba " after 
sighting the German submarine as to sending out wireless messages from his vessel ? 
What wireless messages were, in fact, sent out from the " Falaba " and at what 
times were they sent out ? 

Answer: 

See page 5 of Report. 

The message " Submarine overhauling us. Flying British flag No. 51° 32' 

6° 36'," was sent at 11.50 a.m. 
The second message, " position 51° 32' N., 6° 36' W., torpedo going boats " 

was sent about noon. 

14. Was the " Falaba " sunk by a torpedo fired by a German submarine ? 

Answer : 

Yes. 

15. At what time and from what distance away was the torpedo fired by the 
. German submarine ? At the time the torpedo was fired had all the crew and 

passengers of the " Falaba " left the ship in the boats ? Were those on board the 
German submarine in a position to see clearly the position of affairs on board the 
' Falaba " at the time the torpedo was fired ? What other ships (if any) were in the 
vicinity of the " Falaba " at the time the torpedo was fired ? 

Answer : 

About 100 yards. 

No. 

Yes. 

The steam-drifter '' Eileen Emma," see page 5 of Report. 

16. Where did the torpedo strike the ' Falaba?" When it exploded what was 
the result (a) to the ship, (b) to any of her boats which were being, or about to be 
lowered, (c) to any passengers and crew then in the boats or in the water near the 
ship or on the ship ? 

A nswer : 

The torpedo struck the " Falaba " on the starboard side by No. 3 hatch 
aft of No. 1 life-boat and alongside the Marconi house. 

(a) The " Falaba " at once took a list to starboard and sank in 8 minutes. 

(b) See pages 6, 7 of Report. 

(c) No evidence but a surmise by witness Bathgate that the concussion 

killed some of the people in the boats or in the water. 

17. For how long after firing the torpedo did the German submarine remain 
in the vicinity of the " Falaba." ? Did those on board her make any effort to render 
assistance in saving life ? If not, could they have done so ? 

.A nswer : 

Till the " Falaba " sank. 

No. 

Probably not. without endangering the submarine. 

18. For how long after being struck by the torpedo did the " Falaba " remain 
afloat ? 

A nswer : 

Eight minutes. 



11 REPORT ON THE LOSS OF THE S.S. FALABA : 

19. When were orders given by the Master of the " Falaba " to get out the 
boats and leave the ship ? Were such orders promptly carried out and was proper 
discipline maintained. Were the boats swung out filled, lowered or otherwise put 
into the water and got away under proper superintendence? 

A nswer : 

About noon and after the order to stop the engines. 

Yes. 

Yes. 

20. How many and which boats were successfully lowered and sent away? 
What number of (a) Crew, {b) Passengers were in each of these boats? To how 
many and which boats did accidents happen whilst they were being got out or being 
lowered or when in the water ? What were the nature and causes of such accident ? 
What number of passengers and crew were in each boat at the time? What loss 
of life (if any) occurred by reason of the accidents to these boats? 

A nswer : 

Life-boats Nos. 3 and 4, see page 6 of Report. 
See pages 6, 7 of Report. 

21. Were all the boats efficient and serviceable for the purpose of saving life ? 

A nswer : 
Yes. 

22. Before firing the torpedo, what time was given by the Commander of the 
German submarine to the Master of the " Falaba " to get all on board into the boats 
and leave the ship safely? Was such time reasonable? 

A nswer : 

See page 5 of Report. 

23. How many persons on board the " Falaba " on the occasion in question 
were saved, and by what means ? What was the number of passengers, distinguish- 
ing between men and women and adults and children of the first and second class 
respectively, who were saved ? What was the number of the crew, discriminating 
their ratings and sexes, who were saved ? 

A nswer : 

138 persons were saved; of whom 90 were passengers, of whom 6 were 

females. 
No evidence of class of survivors. 
Of the crew, there were 48 survivors, of whom all were males. 

24. What was the cause of the loss of the s.s. " Falaba " and the loss of life ? 

A nswer : 

Damage to the " Falaba," caused by a torpedo fired by a German submarine, 
whereby the ship sank. 

25. Is blame attributable to Mr. John Craig, Registered Manager, Mr. William 
Peter Thompson, Marine Superintendent, and Mr. Walter Campbell Baxter, Chief 
Officer, or to any, and, if so, which of them ? 

Answer: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 

No- • LOS angzl::3 

JUN 15 19^2 

LIBRARY 

GOVT. PUBS. ROOM